Author: Karen Kelly Boyce
Illustrator: Sue Anderson Gioulis
Age: 6 – 12
Book Number Five in this wonderful series of books is all about Christmas. In fact this book is my favourite 2022 Christmas book of the year for teens and children. I’ve read a few of the Sisters of the Last Straw series, and I am always amazed at how much Karen Kelly Boyce manages to pack into such short stories. As you read through this series of books, you will come to know the various sisters. Each of them has a weakness that they battle, but their hearts are loving and they care about each other. This time, the Sisters have a plan – if they can sell some Christmas trees, they will raise enough money to buy presents for all the children in their parish. Unfortunately, and inevitably, things don’t go according to plan.
The premise of the book is simple. The sisters bumble along and manage to start selling their Christmas trees, but someone keeps stealing their trees during the night. Who could it be? While the sisters try to catch the pesky thief, their sour old neighbour, Mr Lemon, is making life hard for them. Mr Lemon complains, and whines, and plots to have them kicked off their land. But despite the odds, the Sisters begin to make some money.
There is plenty of scope in this story for the usual slapstick humour that makes this series of books so much fun to read. The horse named Backwards will have children laughing out loud. The sisters get annoyed with each other occasionally and make mistakes, but they also forgive each other and encourage each other when things go wrong. By story’s end, they have provided presents for the children of their parish and also for some homeless children they discover living nearby. Finally, they each receive a gift themselves. I like how Karen Kelly Boyce neatly wraps up the story like a Christmas present – the mystery solved, plenty of gifts and Christmas trees for everyone.
I’m always surprised when I finish one of the books in this series. I usually have a tear in my eye. And this book was no exception. As one of the goats gives birth and a special star appears in the night sky, the sisters, their friends and even Mr Lemon gather together to sing “O come let us adore him”. It brought to mind how we all need to manage (somehow) to get along and remember that we are all part of God’s family – in spite of our differences, our idiosyncrasies, our annoying habits or our squabbles. Christmas can be the one day of the year when we join together to sing Praises to God.
You can read my reviews of other Sisters of the Last Straw books HERE.
You can purchase The Case of the Christmas Tree Capers from Veritatis HERE>